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The willingness or ability of foundations to talk about failure has been a recurring theme on this blog. We’ve had Grant Oliphant, president of the Pittsburgh Foundation, offer his thoughts in a diavlog. Frequent guest contributor Michael Remaley shared results of a scan he did that found few examples of where failure is openly discussed on foundation web sites. Most recently, Sylvia Burgos Toftness talked about how the Northwest Area Foundation went to great lengths to report on an initiative that fell short.
A few years ago, when people were still using the term “Web 2.0” to describe interactive and user-generated online content, the Communications Network produced a report encouraging foundations to take the plunge. Come On In the Water’s Fine said that there was far more to be gained than what some feared would result from not being able to completely control the message.
If anyone took that finding to heart, it has to be the Heinz Endowments, which opened up a section of its Web site, In the Spotlight, over a year ago to allow grantees to post their own content, for two weeks at a time, and without advance permission from the foundation.
Guest Post: Thaler Pekar
You’ve probably heard many tips for crafting a concise message, including:
Your main message should fit on the back of a business card.
Your message should fit on a flag, which you will plant firmly in the floor as you begin to speak. (So imperialist!)
While reading the Commonwealth Fund’s 2010 annual report essay by John E. Craig, Jr., executive vice president-chief operating officer, someone whose writings I enjoy because he seems to appreciate the fact that financial officers can contribute considerable knowledge to the workings and values of foundations in America, I came across a startling fact.
According to Craig, in 2008, U.S. foundations spent the equivalent of $675 million in costs associated with preparing and filing their form 990-PF tax returns.